The story of earth's involvement in the intergalactic wars over protoculture begins hundreds of years earlier on a world in a distant galaxy. This was the homeworld of the Invid.
To understand the Invid, one must understand protoculture; The Invid Flower of Life. The so-called "Flower of Life" is a mysterious flowering plant indigenous exclusively to the Invid's homeworld. It possesses several properties truly unique to any plant in the universe.
One of those properties is the generation of incredible amounts of bio-energy. As the Robotech Master, Zor would discover, a properly germinated seed placed under constant pressure generates more energy than a nuclear power plant. "Clean," natural, non-polluting energy. this process inhibits the plant's growth, which in turn causes it to generate even more energy. Locked in stasis, the seed can power a modern city of millions, for generations. But there's more.
The use of this energy with machines creates a paranormal link between man and machine. it is as if the bio-energy instills some essence of life-form to direct it. A quasi-life that requires a living, intelligent life-form to direct it. The psionic union between man and machine makes the mechanical device act more like an extension of the operator instead of a mere tool. It is this unique phenomenon that makes the Veritech Fighters, Alphas and other mecha (human and alien) so incredibly agile. The giant machines react with almost human reflexes because they are effectively mechanical extensions of their pilots. Thus, the machines respond to the person's slightest movement.
Yet perhaps the most unusual aspect of the Invid Flower of Life is the psychic abilities it imparts to those who consume it. Consumption by humans creates uncontrollable hallucinations and occasional precognitive visions accompanied by headache and nausea. A half ounce of pollen or a quarter ounce of seed, less than 14 grams, will induce hallucinations in humans, with a 1-38% chance of insightful or precognitive vision. During the hallucination the character is completely oblivious to the world around him and can not talk, walk, attack or defend himself. The stupor lasts 6D6 minutes. The side effects are a painful headache and nausea that lasts 1D6 hours, with penalties of -2 on initiative, -1 to strike, parry and dodge. There is also a chance the character will poison himself; roll to save vs poison each time the Flower Life is consumed. A failed roll means taking damage directly to hit points. Continued, regular use will cause insanity; 1-60% chance each time after eighth try. Roll on random insanity table once, phobia table once, and obsession table once. This character will be addicted to the flower.
The Invid, however can consume the Flower of Life without ill effect. Centuries of use by the Invid had created a strange, passive race of creatures living in harmony with their planet. They had no belching factories, no houses or industry per se. Instead, they lived as one race, one people, who were one with their planet. It is difficult to say if the Flower of Life moulded the Invid into what they were/are. But it is certain that the psychic powers it is imparted shaped the Invid society.
The Invid had long ago mastered the vast powers of the Flower of Life. With it, the Invid grew and changed. Like bees, the Invid's lives centred around the harvesting of the flowers. Never destroying, like humans who chop down forests or strip the earth of its minerals, but cultivating and sharing the wondrous plant. A symbiotic relationship that allowed both plant and Invid to prosper.
From the use of the flower, one central intelligence, one mind, came into existence. Like Earth bees or termites, the countless individual Invid were directed by one controlling intelligence, the queen bee. It was this one controlling intelligence that was telepathically and empathically linked to all her children. her thoughts, feelings and visions could be instantly transmitted to all the Invid of the world. It was this one intelligence that controlled the myriad powers of the Flower of Life. Indeed, the other Invid were almost extensions of herself. So connected with her people that she feels each one's death, even hundreds of thousands of miles away. Each Invid death is painful. Each death syphons a little of her energy away.
Although no machines or civilization was immediately apparent, the Invid intelligence had developed a bizarre psychic bio-science that can only be equalled to Earth's mythical alchemy. The intelligence could draw on the life-building energy to transmute (the power to transform one element into another) her surroundings and even her people. It was this power that she used to create the "hives" to shelter her minions. It was this same transmutation ability that enabled her to change her own physical body and those of the Invid. An instant mental "evolutionary" process as she saw it. In a similar way, the intelligence could create more of her people, almost at will, like a giant, alchemical, bio-engineering factory. The Robotech Masters would later unravel the secrets of this process to create the giant warrior-clones, Zentraedi, and give themselves near immortality (or so they thought) through accelerated cloning.
For eons the Invid lived in peaceful harmony. Their way of life simple, almost mindless. Then, on one fateful day, a race of beings known as the Robotech masters came to the Invid world.
The Robotech masters were a race of Humanoids (they look just like humans and may be distant ancestors) who were infamous for their super-science. Unfortunately, the Robotech masters used their great science to bully and enslave other worlds. they did this by offering their aid to less advanced civilizations and making them dependant upon their "secrets" of technology. Once dependent upon them, the Robotech Masters would extract payment in the form of allegiance, materials, minerals, production, and so on. Those who dared to refuse or reject them were beaten into submission or destroyed. In a way, the Robotech Masters were malicious mega-merchants who created an intergalactic monopoly and, therefore, an empire, crushing anyone who got into their way.
The discovery of the Invid homeworld was a disappointment, because its people appeared to be an indifferent race of simpletons. However, never to be ones not to explore and exploit all possibilities, the Masters left a team of scientists to see if this world was of any value to them.
The scientific team was lead by a brilliant and uncharacteristic compassionate Robotech scientist named Zor. In the months that followed, Zor discovered the unusual link between the slug-like humanoids and the Flower of Life. He would befriend the Invid ruling intelligence and share her many secrets.
Blinded by naivety and by the excitement of the wondrous plant, Zor developed a way in which the Robotech Masters could harness its energies. A shockingly simple process (to him) to create what he called "organic fusion." Zor also pioneered the mechanics of the Robotech masters' bio-engineering through "protoculture," the refined and harnessed bio-energy of the Invid Flower of Life. The young scientist revelled in the euphoria of his discoveries. He thought to himself that he was about to bring Zor's excitement was emphatically transmitted to the Invid intelligence and so she felt his joy. Unknown to Zor, the Invid intelligence had discovered new feelings, new thoughts, and new visions through him. Feelings she had never known (one might call love). She soared along with his intense love of life, excitement and happiness.
Zor's superiors were equally ecstatic about his discoveries. Indeed, a new age had dawned. With this new power they could increase their empire a hundredfold. They could rule a thousand worlds and bring the universe to its knees.
As Zor's masters hatched their evil schemes, he continued his research, discovering more and more. When the Robotech Masters finally returned to the Invid homeworld they were greeted as friends, perhaps as demigods. Zor proudly gave lectures on his many theories and unveiled his second greatest invention, a new, super dimensional spacecraft prototype powered solely by protoculture (the SDF). The spectacular vessel held many of his new discoveries and theories. the masters marvelled over the prototype spacecraft. Without a doubt, young Zor was the most brilliant mind of their race.
Amid the accolades, the Robotech Masters instructed Zor to gather up a vast supply of seeds for immediate use. As he did this, the Invid intelligence told him that others of his world were also collecting the life-giving seeds. She was suddenly wary and nervous, but Zor calmed and assured her that all was right and that such a treasure must be shared with the universe and not hoarded by one race. the Invid one mind remained faithful, but deferred to Zor's wisdom and friendship.
With sufficient seeds collected (half of which were aboard Zor's new superfortress), the Robotech masters made their move to insure their immortality and domination over the universe. (Ironically, it would seal their doom and create a new nightmare to ravage the cosmos.) They began the immediate and complete defoliation of the Invid homeworld. the Robotech masters could not afford to let any other race, even these apparently harmless people, possess protoculture. their first mistake was greed. Their second mistake was the defoliation of the planet, for the "Flower of Life" could grow nowhere else. A dilemma that the masters would discover later. Their third mistake was rooted in their arrogance which blinded them to the awesome power of the Invid.
Zor and the Invid alike were horrified! Zor could not believe the Robotech Masters would do such a heinous act. His reclusive years as a scientist sheltered him from the cruelty of the Robotech masters. Now his eyes were opened, but too late. His pleas for them to stop were ignored. His impassioned speeches about sharing the wondrous discoveries (at no charge) were received with laughter. At that moment, Zor's world crumbled. His naivety had condemned and innocent people. He was helpless to stop the defoliation of the Invid world, but he was not entirely powerless. In a small way, he could help rectify the carnage he had inspired. Alone, aboard the prototype vessel, he furiously set to work.
Meanwhile, the Invid planet was racked by a catastrophic change. The Robotech Masters' plan was especially monstrous. Their super-powerful defoliants would destroy all plant life. The method so deadly that no vegetation would grow there for 10,000 years. Yet the Invid people would be unharmed, just left to die of starvation. And so it would have been if the Invid were the helpless innocents the Robotech Masters believed them to be. Instead, another equally devastating change was taking place inside the many hives. The intelligence was transforming her people into a combat force to crush the hideous despoilers of a world. To the Robotech masters' surprise, a lethal force of mechanized aliens suddenly appeared to savage their troops. The battle was fierce and terrible, but could not save the planet.
Then the hand of fate entered the fray and tragedy struck again. During the ensuing battle, Zor was mortally wounded, but not before he could implement his last desperate plan to make right this terrible wrong. His flagship, the new prototype (SDF), suddenly burst to life and vanished as it made its jump into hyperspace (the space fold process). With it, a vast reserve of precious protoculture; unprocessed seeds placed in suspended animation, hidden somewhere in its deepest recesses. ALL of Zor'a notes, new theories, speculations, and plans for the prototype super fortress had been purged from all the other computers. Thus, most of Zor's knowledge of protoculture was forever destroyed. Whatever new secrets he had unearthed died with him. Still, the Robotech masters knew enough to build their empire. They held the secret of organic fusion and the last known supply of protoculture seeds. They also had the power of protoculture bio-engineering (although far less sophisticated than what was possible, as evident from the Invid's power of transmutation). With that knowledge, they had already created the Zentraedi and would go forth to subjugate hundreds of worlds. Retreating from the Invid planet, they thought they had seen the last of the Invid. They were very wrong.
Perhaps the only reason the Robotech Masters were able to escape the clutches of the Invid was because of the torrent of emotions that racked the directing intelligence. The trauma of the Robotech Masters' betrayal and treachery was confusing, compounded by the horror of the destruction of the "Flowers of Life." Too many thoughts raced through the intelligence's brain. Then the final blow. The death of Zor! It was far too much for her to handle all at once. The intelligence screamed and went numb. Without their leader to guide them, the newly created Invid warriors were no match for the Robotech Masters, who made a hasty getaway.
The battle was lost, but the war was far from over. When the intelligence regained consciousness, she found that she had undergone a metamorphosis of her own. There was now a second intelligence, a male counterpart to herself and one almost as powerful. The male entity was the embodiment of vengeance full of hate, aggression and anger. Together, they vowed that the Robotech masters would be destroyed. The Flower of Life belonged to the Invid alone; anyone who dared to use its essence (protoculture) would be destroyed.
So began the war that would stretch across the centuries. millions of Invid and Zentraedi (the Masters' warrior race) would perish. Along with them, entire worlds of innocents who were coerced into using protoculture provided by the heartless Robotech Masters. The Invid scouts scoured the universe, searching for the essence of the Flower of Life. Whenever "its" presence was found, the twin intelligences, known as the Regis and Regent, were alerted. A terrible swarm of scouts, armoured scouts, shock troopers, pincers, and later, the dreaded inorganics would swarm over the world, collecting the protoculture and obliterating the population.
After a few centuries of war, the Regis grew tired of the constant battle. Instead, she suggested finding a new world on which protoculture would grow and they again could live in peace. However, the regent was a being of passion, who thrived on war. Bent on revenge, he would not accept anything but the destruction of the Robotech masters. Already the Regent had enslaved several worlds. His goal, like the Robotech Masters', became one of intergalactic conquest and domination. So it was the Invid became divided; half ruled by the Regis, the other half ruled by the Regent. Over the decades, the rift between the two would cause a schism that will send them to two entirely different destinies. The Regis would pursue "enlightened evolution" and ultimately, follow Zor's trail (the SDF-1) to Earth and beyond. The Regent, would finally find and ravage the Robotech masters' homeworld. There, he would encounter the SDF-3, the indomitable Rick Hunter and the Sentinels.
For the moment, we will forget about the Regent and follow the Regis and the Invid Invasion of Earth.
Zor, appalled by the unforgivable actions of his people, finally saw the Masters as the maleficent force they had always been. Worse, he had given them the tool (protoculture) to fulfil their dreams. His only hope was to steal the precious seeds and give his knowledge to other people throughout the universe. Zor's first task was to erase all his new theories and discoveries from the Robotech Masters' main computers. That accomplishment meant that the secrets of protoculture were locked away in his head alone.
Sadly, Zor was mortally wounded before he could escape. Still, there was hope. A planet in a distant galaxy. A Planet he had seen in a protoculture induced vision. A Planet whose primitive people would grow to understand protoculture. A people who, although teetering themselves on the brink of self-destruction, had always opposed oppression. How he knew these things he did not truly understand, but time had limited his choices. In that instant, the fate of the Robotech masters, the Invid, and humanity was placed on the shoulders of the human race; Earth.
Realizing that the humans of Earth needed time to advance in technology and grow as a people, Zor plotted a course that would lead the Robotech masters, and their Zentraedi pawns, on a wild chase across space and time. With his last dying breath, he launched his mighty, new vessel on its fateful journey.
The ship's journey carried it across the cosmos, only pausing long enough to attract its pursuers and then disappear in a space fold long before it could be captured.
As time went on, the capture of Zor's vessel became more and more imperative. The Robotech Masters' supply of protoculture was finite and becoming exhausted. Despite their super-science and best efforts, they could not get the Flower of Life to grow from seed. The best that could be achieved were a variety of mutant strains, all of which lacked the vital properties of protoculture. Without the supply of seeds aboard Zor's vessel, they were doomed!
The Invid, with their alchemy, would fare no better in growing a few seeds they had saved. Fortunately, they had stored a thousand lifetimes of the precious energy and remained comparatively strong.
Nearly 400 years after the vessel had been launched, Zor's flagship crash landed on Earth. its arrival would unite the planet, yet nearly destroy it as well. Although some of the secrets of protoculture would be uncovered, making it possible to rebuild the vessel, now known as the SDF-1, as well as, create the Veritech Fighters and Destroids, the humans never learned of its secret cargo of seeds hidden, and in stasis, deep inside the ship. It would only be after the Robotech masters' assault on Earth and their destruction above the wreckage of the SDF-1, that unleashed the blossoming seeds, into our world (see the last few episodes of the Southern Cross and, specifically, episode #60.)
Surprisingly, the Flower of Life grows amazingly well on Earth (not that most humans know what it is other than an alien form of plant life). In a few short years, the Flower of Life is everywhere, growing with the vitality of a weed. Did Zor know Earth could sustain the flower? Perhaps. But as Earth became a vast garden of protoculture flowers, it also signalled the coming of the Invid.
The Invid Regis sensed the existence of the Flowers of Life from a distant galaxy, gathered her people and came to Earth. Her goal: to cultivate the flowers and claim the Earth as the Invid's new homeworld. The fact that Earth was already populated by an endogenous, intelligent life-form was of little consequence. The Regis had grown indifferent toward other life. Her concern was only for her people. The destruction that followed was spawned from desperation and callousness. At last, she had found the only known world that could support the Flower of Life. A world she claimed for the Invid.
The Earth was again laid under siege. All major cities and populated areas were annihilated. The powerful E.B.S.I.S. obliterated before they knew what hit them. The sprawling anarchy of the Argentine Quadrant atomized. The millions of Scandinavians gone in an instant.
Quebec Quadrant was the first to actually see the invaders. The Flower of Life prospered in this region better than anywhere else, so the Invid dared not risk its destruction with area affect weapons. Out of the sky they came like angry hornets. The last of the organized Armies of the Southern Cross and RFD hurried to Quebec's aid, but to no avail. The pitifully tiny Earth forces had no chance against the millions of Invid. The battle for North America lasted an astonishing three days.
The last vestiges of humanity were broken and scattered. Some communities were converted into slave farms to harvest protoculture. Other small towns, tribes and villages were allowed to exist as long as their people did not use protoculture or dare resist the Invid's rules.
Anarchy worse than the post-holocaust days of the first two Robotech Wars reigned. Rebel soldiers, gangs, and madmen scrambled for a little piece of power. Others simply survived the best they could. These were the most difficult days in Earth's history. A time when the Earth was occupied by merciless aliens, with mankind their slaves.
Despite the odds, brave resistance fighters dared to strike out at the inhuman Invid. Claiming what small victories they could, an organized network of freedom fighters grew. Among their ranks, old RDF soldiers, survivors of Rick Hunter's Expeditionary Force (three assault waves would meet defeat at the hands of the Invid), scavengers, and peasants. Anyone strong enough and brave enough to resist the Invid could find some place among the freedom fighters. other independent groups of resistance fighters also existed, but, were mostly small units of rag-tag guerilla fighters who scavenged the land and tried to establish a sort of vigilante justice.
Invid hives dotted the globe. These were the aliens' bases of operations, the largest of which housed the Invid Regis. Through an unlikely series of events, culminating with the third assault of the Expeditionary Force, the Regis decided that Earth was tainted by "the shadow of the Robotech Masters," destroys the Expeditionary Force and leaves Earth in a dazzling display of energy transmutation. She explains that this is an "evil planet" not suitable as the homeworld of the noble Invid. "We will continue our evolutionary development elsewhere."
Lancer (a.k.a. Yellow Dancer), a member of the infamous freedom fighters under the leadership of Scott Bernard, muses aloud; "I wonder if we've really seen the last of them?" It seems the Invid have left the Earth, taking all available protoculture with them. At last, peace is restored. The Earth is free. Or so it seemed for the next several months.
Lancer's words seem almost prophetic, for the Invid do return. Not as a force of a hundred million to claim the Earth as the Invid's new homeworld, but as an occupying force sent to cultivate and harvest the precious Flower of Life. Like all the worlds in the past, except Earth, the Flower of Life will not grow on the planet sensed by the Regis. Having met with failure, the Regis and most of her Invid continue their search for a new home and continued "enlightened evolution." She refuses to return to Earth to reclaim it as a home for her people, but it is "the only known source of the Flower of Life."
NOTE: The symbiotic bond between the Flower of Life and the Invid race is too strong to sever. Consequently, she has sent an occupying force of about two million (humans don't know how many, but estimate about half to one million) to seize control of the areas richest in protoculture and force the humans to farm and process it for future needs.
These Invid are just as merciless and uncaring about human life as the previous occupying force, but this time things are a little different. There are far less Invid, with the main force light years away. The humans, as weak, scattered, and fragmented as they are, believe they have defeated the Invid once and can do it again. But most importantly, the brilliant controlling mind of the Regis is not present to direct them. Instead, these forces generally lack experience as creatures with independent thought. Their tactics are still very basic, often lacking any real cunning or strategy. This makes them vulnerable even to the pitifully small forces of human freedom fighters.